September is Hunger Action Month. With all the food that I cook, eat, and savor, I would be remiss in not wanting to act to help the 50.2 million Americans who live in food insecure households. If you’re used to my (hopefully) lighthearted posts as I search for unusual beet recipes or complain about cooking beef, be forewarned that this installment is serious, not whimsical. But it’s a topic that I support and feel very compelled to address.
Many of us are so fortunate that we don’t know what real hunger feels like or what it means to skip a meal because you couldn’t afford it, not because you were too busy to eat or had eaten too much the meal before. I used the reference to my dogs in this title to catch attention, but the truth is, they probably do eat better than many people. They get their regular meals, plus bits of healthy things as I cook. They love things like kiwi, mango, green beans, cucumbers—healthy foods that many Americans must do without when money is tight—and the only time they think they feel hungry is if I’m a little late in feeding them on a particular day.
In Western Pennsylvania, where I’m from, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank serves more than 120,000 people each month, and of that number, 2,500 each month are new households. Each month. And that number continues to grow. When researching these numbers, I found some older statistics indicating that 1 in 8 Americans is food insecure. Today, that number is 1 in 6.
Visit your local food bank’s website to find out what the hunger situation is in your area, or check out Feeding America for national information. And if you feel compelled this month, get involved. Donate a little time, money, or food; hold a fundraiser; raise awareness. Every bit helps.